Gary, and Dave as well as anyone else interested in what Integral can contribute,

In this past week I spent 5 hours in conference calls here as well as many hours composing drafts of 'possibilities' regarding what Occupy 2.0 can bring forth to help establish a new economy. As a trained process facilitator for Intentional Communities I experienced the same shortcoming here that Intentional communities endure who adhere to pluralistic process of consensus.  This is summarized by the expression of frustration expressed by Ron Wheeler:

"Why is it that progressives and activists are so much better at putting forward good ideas than in actually getting them adopted and implemented? We seem to love to discuss almost forever and then are rather hesitant to work cooperatively together to support good ideas." 
Gary, we know what this is about. How about a discussion regarding what Integral informed individuals can do help move past this endless and limiting dysfunction and adopt a more effective process?  I know this is only one area that we could contribute an innovation not available to relativistic pluralism but this issue frustrates me personally and at the heart of Wheeler's rhetorical question above. 
Steve

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Thanks for the initiative, Steven.  I don't know if you've wandered as far as the group to which I posted this discussion, which has bearing on what people need to decide versus what they need to do.

Dear Friends,

It’s with joy that I’ve stumbled onto your website and into this conversation! I am an active Occupy Facilitator in both Montpelier and Burlington, Vermont, an Integrally informed individual, and a process expert and innovator, stemming from years of intentional community living, a career as an entrepreneur, and a deep interest in the question of power. I have so much to say on this topic, it’s hard to know where to begin except with a ‘hello, I’m happy you started this conversation and that I found you!’

To ground my response to the seminal question in this dialogue ("Why is it that progressives and activists are so much better at putting forward good ideas than in actually getting them adopted and implemented? We seem to love to discuss almost forever and then are rather hesitant to work cooperatively together to support good ideas." ) I’d like to support Steve’s initial impetus that innovating our process is the solution to the pain expressed not only in Ron’s question, but in the frustrations of thousands of people trying to do good work.

I’ve been actively thinking and experimenting around inside the question of a more effective process for many years and have innovated a simple, learnable process that’s informed by Integral Theory and the best thinking in organizational and human development from the last 50 years, including some of the processes named by some of you in this thread! It’s been fun to read through the responses to this question posed above and hear the resonances!

I came to the Occupations last November with a burning sense that this new process represented a potentially large step forward from the one passed out by OWS and that the Occupations were petri dishes for the evolution of process. In the four months that I’ve been actively involved in two separate Occupations as facilitator, I have been able to slowly implement some key changes especially in the Montpelier Occupation. The reasons for the difference in receptivity between the two Occupations is largely due in my analysis to a more entrenched resistance to structure which is seen as another form of domination hierarchy in the Burlington Occupation.

Some of the key changes that I’ve been able to enact within the Occupations will make the most sense from a glimpse into the process that I’m innovating. For definition’s sake, by process I mean a comprehensive system for decision-making and operating, or enacting the work of any organization. This new process is based on a core insight that all forms of organization (defined as what occurs any time a group of people do something together) appear to have at least 7 separate but interrelated aspects or muscles: aim, strategy, structures, scope, operations, interpersonal, and individual. All of these aspects are active and present in any form of organization from a family to a business to a social change movement, whether or not the organization is aware of them. The more awareness and practice brought to each of these aspects the more health and functionality will arise for the organization.

There’s a lot more to share about how each of these aspects is grounded in concrete, learnable practices but two of the most significant aspects for the Occupations have been the concept of distributed authority and the reconstruction of consensus.

Distributing authority makes self-organization possible within the larger context of a unified aim. Self organization allows for autonomy which is critical not only in a social change movement but for greater engagement and innovation across the scope of human endeavors leading to such things as improved bottom lines in business. The mechanism for distributing authority is the structures process and includes an improved form of consensus, called Integrative Consensus. In the structures practice, we identify and agree on the concrete aspects of work that are required in order to deliver on the overall aim of the organization or team.

Integrative Consensus includes the irreducible insight of our post modern heritage that all perspectives hold value and therefore need to be included... but it limits and channels the scope of what aspect of an individual’s perspective we are asking for and therefore what will be included in the process of creating a decision.

My approach with the Occupations has been to learn the current facilitation practices, show up as a facilitator, and initiate a conversation around process. The dissatisfaction with the current process is ubiquitous, though many Occupites are suspicious of it it because it simply represents a structure of some kind. Inside that conversation, I began with core threads: 1) let’s see what happens if we ask for the information behind the down hands and amend our proposals on that basis, thereby avoiding the wasted energy of tossing proposals out due to down hands. 2) none of our decisions are permanent, we can always revisit something if we need to; 3) what are our Working Groups doing? who needs what from whom? and is this recorded anywhere for reference? what process do we use for determining what a Working Group is or isn’t doing? what kind of information does the GA need back from the Working Groups in order to be effective?

So far, I’ve succeeded in seeding process conversations in both Occupations, assisting a process of identifying working groups scopes for the Montpelier Occupation, and some iterations in the direction of Integrative Consensus for both Occupations. There’s a long way to go yet and I’m entirely uncertain as to the outcome at this stage. I can say that attendance is picking up at the Montpelier Occupation due likely to many factors, but I’d like to imagine that the clarification and streamlining of our process is contributing in some part to that improvement.

I am curious to hear your responses to this and looking forward to further conversation. I appreciate the deep efforts you all are making both directly for the Occupations and for the evolution of our process across all forms of organization. This work is my life and livelihood and I’m happy to discuss further and support more experimentation.

Looking forward,
Cecile

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